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How do you help your gifted one through their deep concerns and worries of world issues?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

My ds is 9 and holy smokes! This kid just data dumped on me last night about vaccines, medicine, overpopulation, the environment, etc., etc. I think I can base our whole school year on all of these topics. How do you help your kiddos with these worrisome issues?

post #2 of 10

Taking action always helps my kids. They've always done a lot of volunteer work and it makes them feel like they are making the world a better place. When they were little, they'd do things like volunteer at the food bank, make holiday decorations for nursing homes, color place mats for meals on wheels, recycle and donate the proceeds, ect. Now that they are older, they can do things that have further reaching benefits. 

 

Might be worth a try with your son.

post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

Taking action always helps my kids. They've always done a lot of volunteer work and it makes them feel like they are making the world a better place. When they were little, they'd do things like volunteer at the food bank, make holiday decorations for nursing homes, color place mats for meals on wheels, recycle and donate the proceeds, ect

 

 

This is what we do too.

 

One of my DD worries constantly about animals going extinct, pollution, etc.  So we make sure we recycle, read about how our local zoos are working toward reestablishing species populations,etc.

 

I try to keep it positive and reminding her of the things adults are doing to keep the world a nice place and reminding her of the things she can do.

 

It seems to help- the reassurance and answering the best we can her questions often allays most of the fear/concern and leaves the curiousity to learn more.

 

But this is from the same DD that sobbed for a long time about all the ants that were drowning in their tunnels during a recent thunderstorm!! She wanted to rescue them alll....

post #4 of 10

I actually tell my 10 year old ds that he doesn't have to carry the weight of the whole world on his shoulders.  It's ok to be a kid and not worry about this stuff all of the time.  We just do the best we can do each day, and that's all we can do.  

post #5 of 10

When my kids were younger we read Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, and it became a touchstone for these sorts of concerns. The message of the book (which is lovely for all ages, though intended for an audience of young children) is that each of us can live our lives in many different ways, but in the end we need to make sure we do something to leave the world a better place than it would have been without us. We talked a lot about that message, and explored the multiplicative effect: if everyone does stuff to make the world a better place, the world will be a dramatically better place within a generation, and each generation can build on the progress of the previous one. The world is a big complicated place, but all we can do is all anyone can do: try to live our lives in ways that increase the good. 

 

The story shows how simple actions can be very powerful. In the case of Miss Rumphius, she scatters lupin seeds everywhere she goes. This small act of goodness eventually results in self-sowing, resulting in an increasingly profound change in the landscape, something which will outlive her and become self-perpetuating. And so in our lives we have tried to get in the habit of doing simple things too: picking garbage, doing random acts of kindness, building ephemeral art for people to enjoy and wonder about, making secret gifts to people in need, that sort of thing. 

 

It's important to acknowledge injustice in the world, and to validate kids' feelings about it. But I think it's important to give those feelings an outlet, and I think that most of the time the best outlet is tangible, local, simple actions of charity and goodness. 

 

Miranda

post #6 of 10

ditto pp.

 

one way was through action. acts of charity through volunteering. making personal choices ourselves (turn vegetarian after understanding the impact and cruelty of the meat industry) and also through being part of a protest movement. also little things like turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, recycling gives them the feeling that they are contributing to the betterment. 

 

the second aspect is by talking. this is the way life is. it isnt fair. but this is the way it is. making them aware that good exists along with the bad, like nuclear power also means the bomb. sometimes a choice is not a choice. that there is happiness and pain in choice. 

 

as always empathise, empathise, empathise. 

post #7 of 10

My 6 y/o has been worried about very heavy issues since he was around 3 or 4. What has helped is talking about issues in an appropriate way, straight forward, but not too much detail. My husband and I have a great relationship with him so we can talk about things fairly easily.  We make sure we try to do our part to contribute to the improvement and goodness of the world. I tell him how we're all responsible for contributing our part and that doing our best is the best we can do. He is a worry-wart so I try to be a little careful about reading the news online. We don't have tv as such and no newspapers. One thing I am sure about is that I don't lie to him about anything, not even the seemingly innocent kind. Previously, when he would get a little misinformation from me from asking really hard questions, he would get bothered a lot and stuck on it. So, now my response is to, "Let's see if we can find the answer together." I don't guess or try to answer if I am not really sure.

post #8 of 10

I try to follow Mr Rogers' advice and "look for helpers".

 

 

Quote: http://www.fci.org/new-site/par-tragic-events.html
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world." -Fred Rogers

 

I know his words were intended for a preschool audience, but I find it helps me as an adult, too. Focus on the positive in the bad situations. The people and organizations who are working to right the wrongs and help those who need help. I think that's all we can do.

post #9 of 10

My dd (nearly 10) also seems to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders.  We seem to be handling world issues ok--we do a variety of things listed above, but we are really stuggling with close to home stuff.  She seems to have overactive empathy and seems to feel the struggles of everyone around her.  Sometimes, in an effort to 'help' someone or to avoid upsetting someone, she ends up hurting herself (emotionally).  She also seems to handle other people's bad news especially bad.  For example:  her friend's dog died last winter.  It was hit by a car.  Her friend was very sad about it.  K was over the top grief stricken.  This lasted for quite a while. . . longer than her friend's outward sadness.  

 

Has anyone else dealt with this?  Any tips?

 

Amy

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAK View Post

My dd (nearly 10) also seems to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders.  We seem to be handling world issues ok--we do a variety of things listed above, but we are really stuggling with close to home stuff.  She seems to have overactive empathy and seems to feel the struggles of everyone around her.  Sometimes, in an effort to 'help' someone or to avoid upsetting someone, she ends up hurting herself (emotionally).  She also seems to handle other people's bad news especially bad.  For example:  her friend's dog died last winter.  It was hit by a car.  Her friend was very sad about it.  K was over the top grief stricken.  This lasted for quite a while. . . longer than her friend's outward sadness.  

 

Has anyone else dealt with this?  Any tips?

 

Amy

 

We had similar struggles when DD was that age. She attracts wounded souls and kids in transition. You'd be amazed at how many of her friends have lost a parent or a sibling, had a parent in prison, were in the foster system, were abuse victims, ect. DD is extremely empathetic and she would just absorb all this pain around her and like you described. Then, her friends would move on and DD would still be reeling. I don't really have any answers for you. Our DD did eventually learn to be more cautious and careful with who she friended. She learned to differentiate between someone she could actually help (and WANTED to be helped) and someone whose issues just too big for her. She is far more guarded than she used to be which is a little sad but also much healthier. 

 

The only advice I can give is to just keep talking. Find ways for her to channel those feelings into something positive. Eventually, I suspect your DD will follow my DD's path and start protecting herself.

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